Findings from a report from Nielsen show that the amount of time spent online and general levels of internet engagement of Facebook users is far greater than non-Facebook users.

The report findings highlight the extent to which Facebook is influencing Australian internet activities, with Facebook users spending an average of 3.26 times longer on the internet than non-Facebook users.

Even excluding time spent on Facebook, users are still spending 2.5 times more on average per month than those who aren’t on Facebook.

Of the 14 million Australians who use the internet in any given month, around 8.8 million (63%) are Facebook users while 5.2 million (37%) do not engage with the site.

Mark Higginson, director of research for Nielsen’s online division, explained that results in are extraordinary because they point to the emergence of a fractured internet population, with each group displaying distinctly different online habits.

“This isn’t just about the rise and rise of Facebook – these numbers have implications for how we view internet usage as an industry. Around the world, advertisers have observed the phenomenal rise of Facebook with a sense of curiosity, anticipation and in many cases perplexity. It is now more evident than ever that those advertisers need to understand how they can tap into this trend and use it as a way to engage their clients, customers, stakeholders and the general internet population,” said Higginson.

Nielsen’s research also shows that Facebook users are becoming more entrenched in their favourite social networking site, with share of online time given to Facebook increasing from 20% in July 2009 to 27% in February 2010.